INSTANT POT: Tuscan White Beans with Sausage, Chicken, and Greens

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I hope you had time between last week and this to make all my salads. Well, maybe you at least printed off a few recipes and are thinking in terms of trying one or two.

below:  our front yard vaguely winterish

If not, could be you’re freezing cold and ready for a fast hot meal of beans and meat in the Instant Pot (Did you get one for Christmas?), which of course could be done in a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or in a B-flat pot on the stove top should you so choose.

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20 Main Dish Salads to Continue Your Healthy January Adventure

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{print recipe for Kalamata Egg Salad with Charred Red Peppers}

If you’re not trying to get healthy this month, you might still want to read this week’s post featuring main dish salads.  Even if all you managed to accomplish was to clear out your entire cellar’s store of Pinot Noir but skipped every red, green, and silver Hershey’s kiss you encountered (and so didn’t gain an ounce in December), you could drum up interest in hefty, heart-warming and filling whole meal salads–if nothing else but to figure out what to do with leftover steak (leftover steak?!), those couple of lonely pork chops, an oh-so-sad single portion of salmon, one languishing chicken breast with wing attached, or perhaps only a drawer full of vegetables and cheese with little else to recommend them but a poached egg or two and maybe a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

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25+ Scrumptious Dishes to Jump Start Your Healthy January

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Basil Sole on Greens with Parmesan-Tomato Salad                        {print recipe}

Every year on January 2, many people around the world wake up knowing they’re just one cookie away from a bigger pants size.  Gyms memberships rise, WW (Weight Watchers) Workshop chairs fill up, and dog walkers double their pet’s exercise along with their own. I began WW for the 4th (5th?) time just before the start of December, so while I didn’t wait until after the Christmas fudge tin was empty, I did move into this arena right upon finishing the last piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

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Slow Cooker Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup for New Year’s Day

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Sometimes holidays are not what you planned. Often they take on a life of their own. Perhaps that’s what Christmas is all about. Welcoming or being open to something new, something loving, maybe even moving on from what you thought you had to have.

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“Peaknut” Crinkles

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Each December for the last several years, I’ve dreamed up a Christmas cookie for the blog. This time, I might have found my very favorite–just in time for your weekend last-minute baking.  “Peaknut” Crinkles are a twist on the always-favorite Chocolate Crinkles so often made at holiday time.

My own crinkle recipe– pictured above–and this is a riff on that– is one I’ve made for years and I have no idea from whence it came.  More than once, I’ve really searched to discover its provenance, but the crinkle recipes I find are not like mine and so I have no idea. Thanks to that cookie baker I’ve never found!! Now, just so you know:  the difference between “my” recipe and the others is this:  mine uses melted chocolate and ALSO chocolate chips; every other one I locate is made with only cocoa.  So.   “My” Chocolate Crinkle Recipe.

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Posole Done Fast

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When it comes to the second week of December, no matter how well prepared you are, the month begins to take over. It seems you’re not in charge of your own life. Instead of easy-going fall weekends culminating in Sunday games, there are work parties, family get togethers, school and church performances, and neighborhood potlucks. Somewhere down the road and fairly soon, that stack of bags in the corner of the spare bedroom must be gone through, sorted out, wrapped, and mailed or delivered, if need be. There are travel plans, weather delays or plain old bad weather, holiday attire to attend to, and the forever and constant barrage of holiday ads all with some version of  “Sleigh Ride” for the soundtrack. 

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Chocolate Bottom Cranberry Muffins

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These muffins–and muffins they be– are not an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Not too sweet and with a pebbly-crunchy mouthfeel, they still hold a holiday-ishly decadent pizzaz with the very best bittersweet chocolate baked right into the bottom of the muffin. You can also add it at the top if a frosting effect is more to your liking (see Cook’s Notes), but I do very much like the little secret chocolate that’s perfectly hidden until you take your first bite.  If you’ve been roaring on about trying not to eat all those goodies this month (waa, waa, waa), take heart; read on…

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Thanksgiving Granola–The Easy Holiday Gift

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TIME TO PLAN, CLEAN, SHOP, COOK AHEAD for Thanksgiving. Scroll down to bottom for a list of ideas to get you going.    

                                                        OR….

 READ UP ON MORE TIME’S THANKSGIVING BASICS HERE  (includes links to my baking post, sides recipes, Thanksgiving for two, turkey thoughts, music, movies etc.)

VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE THANKSGIVING HERE

Looking for something to take to friends or family for Thanksgiving? Crunchy dried apples, chewy sweet cranberries, toasted nuts, and warm spices (all the usual suspects plus a tad cayenne pepper) make this the perfect little take-along, especially if you’re traveling for the holiday. And, you know what? Granola doesn’t go bad, won’t melt, smell, crack, or crumble (much), is fine at room temperature, goes in suitcase or tote bag, and is the quintessential snack if you get hungry on the road. And really easily, (see recipe for changes and notes), this adaptable food makes a hearty vegetarian, vegan, and/or gluten free breakfast. It also solves the, “What’s for breakfast?” that everyone except the cook asks on Thanksgiving morning. Add yogurt, fruit, milk, or top a big bowl of oatmeal or other cereal with this crunchy goodness.  In fact, it’s great on ice cream!  Sorry, we were talking breakfast. Have time to get fancy?  Make my Bacon-Granola Pancakes with Fried Egg.

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